I just attended a session at CPAC entitled "Blogging, Tweeting and Other Funny Words That Grow the Movement." Hoping to follow along on Twitter or Facebook, I opened up my laptop--only to find that the room in which the session was held had no access to internet!
It seems the conservative movement has a long way to come on "New Media."
John Goodman's note on the differences between Democrats and Republicans on health care.
The lyrics to Born Again American include references to the Bible and the Bill of Rights, but puts more emphasis on equality than on freedom and more emphasis on government than on other institutions.
My friend said, "Issues these days are all about finding solutions. Solutions is where everyone should be focused." But as Anne Applebaum wrote about our longstanding, very public issues, "No one is lying about these things, but no one is doing very much about them either."
It comes down to surface similarities masking deeper divisions. Those divisions go to the core of questions about not just the solutions, but the problems we seek to solve. Too much spending or too little taxes? Too much money or too little regulation? Too much carbon dioxide or too little reliable data? Coke or Pepsi? Keynes or Hayek?
Maybe our problem isn't too much partisanship or too much vitriol in debates, but that the debates are going straight about solutions to the wrong problems.
The North Carolina Association of School Administrators (NCASA) reports that there are eight (8) superintendent vacancies in NC.
Hyde County Schools
Duplin County Schools
Kannapolis City Schools
Durham Public Schools
Rutherford County Schools
Clinton City Schools
Brunswick County Schools
Martin County Schools
I am not sure of the status of any of these positions, so it is difficult to say how many of them are in play. I am not even sure that Mr. Burns is interested in pursuing another job.
But I have to say that there are some intriguing possibilities here, particularly the Durham and Brunswick vacancies. His decision to resign now, far in advance of the next school year, gives him plenty of time to pursue other opportunities.
In an interview with WTVD today, Wake County Superintendent Del Burns explained why he resigned, "The proposed policies of the board are not in alignment with my goals and my vision." Um, OK.
What do the North Carolina statutes say about the roles and responsibilities of school superintendents? According to §115C‑276(a), "In General. – All acts of local boards of education, not in conflict with State law, shall be binding on the superintendent, and it shall be his duty to carry out all rules and regulations of the board."
- The superintendent is an ex officio secretary to his board.
- The local boards shall prescribe the duties of the superintendent.
Too many people that I have talked to believe that the school board and superintendent are equals. But North Carolina's laws leave little doubt that the superintendent, appropriately called an administrator, works for the elected school board.
Anyway, good luck to Mr. Burns. Your years of service to the children of Wake County is appreciated.
Nearly $2 billion in money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has been spent on wind power, funding the creation of enough new wind farms to power 2.4 million homes over the past year. But the study found that nearly 80 percent of that money has gone to foreign manufacturers of wind turbines.
And what about all those wonderful wind power jobs?
Russ Choma at the Investigative Reporting Workshop provides the following information:
"According to our estimates, about 6,000 jobs have been created overseas, and maybe a couple hundred have been created in the U.S."
Our tax dollars have been used to subsidize a costly and unreliable source of electricity that doesn't do anything but help foreign corporations because they are the ones that manufacture wind turbines.
When it comes to electricity generation, we are "energy independent." As we restrict coal and nuclear development, we put more pressure on securing natural gas. Unless we allow drilling, we will need to start importing more foreign natural gas. And, as we mandate the purchase of wind power, we are forced to buy wind turbines from overseas. We will certainly be less energy independent if we continue down this path.
"Study: States must fill $1 trillion pension gap," reports The Associated Press. To fully redeem retirement and health care obligations made to state and local employees, The Pew Center on the States puts each U.S. taxpayer liable for $8,800 in unfunded liabilities.
To be sure, people living in states that have overpromsed retirees will be stuck with the bill. Which may be good news (I suppose) for North Carolinians, in that the Pew survey considers our state a "solid performer." Don't get complacent, however. That designation covers only the pension plan for state retirees and not its health insurance program (which has an unfunded liability of nearly $30 billion, and is making only about a fourth of the payments necessary to retire those mounting debts).
Making JLF fiscal analyst Joe Coletti's suggestion that the state move to a defined-contribution plan for state workers' pensions and medical plans sound smarter all the time.
It's good news for the country when even mainstream writers such as Anne Applebaum of the Washington Post are publishing pieces like this comparing the financial debacle in Greece to that of the U.S.
For decades, most Americans ignored the arguments that ever-increasing, open-ended government programs were a bad idea because they'd eventually lead to mountains of debt. Why not enjoy federal goodies now? Those curmudgeonly free market types are just trying to scare us away from wonderful, socially just programs like Medicare.
Now the long-run consequences are here. It's much like the old story of the ant and the grasshopper.
The debate over locally taxpayer-funded elective abortion is spreading across the state after Wake County commissioners let stand the county manager’s decision to ban the coverage in their employee health insurance plans.
On Monday, Columbus County Commissioner Ronald Gore called for the coverage to be nixed, although it’s uncertain whether there is enough support for it. A report in the Durham Herald-Sunsuggests that Durham and Chapel Hill won’t be changing their policies anytime soon.
Meanwhile, town council member Bill Jensen made a motion Tuesday to have the state attorney general weigh in on whether the town’s decision to restrict the coverage is legal. The motion failed for lack of a second.
At a contentious meeting Monday, Wake County commissioners were deadlocked on whether to end the coverage, meaning a determination by the county manager to eliminate it will stand. During the meeting, Commissioner Stan Norwalk gave out the phone number for House Minority Leader Paul Stam, who has championed efforts to reverse the coverage.
“If you want to talk about who is trying to get his values accepted by the entire community, that’s the number you should call and complain to,” Norwalk said.
Stam’s office said that as of today, they haven’t received a single complaint call.
In the state budget passed last August, legislators took a quarter-cent of sales tax revenue from local governments and the school capital portion of the corporate income tax. Stateline.org says local governments don't expect to ever see that money again.
In North Carolina, about 7 percent of the proceeds from the state’s corporate income tax had routinely been transferred to local governments for school capital costs, but starting this year, lawmakers decided to put that money — roughly $125 million over two years — towards the deficit. For Cabarrus County, a fast-growing county near Charlotte, that translates into an annual loss of about $2 million. “We’re not counting on it coming back,” says Pam Dubois, the county’s finance director. “If it does, great. But when we’re projecting out what we’re going to be doing for the next five years we’re acting like it’s not going to be there.”
The latest Carolina Journal Online exclusive features Anthony Greco's CJTV report on a judge's dismissal of the N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law's suit challenging incentives awarded to Johnson & Wales University.
Watch the story here:
John Hood's Daily Journal uses a military history example to teach an important lesson: strategic blindness can doom tactical excellence.